Consumers fail to make connection between recycling and its role in providing feedstock for new products
Carton Council survey shows one-third of consumers have increased recycling during pandemic
Immediately following the threat of shutdowns and the beginning of quarantines as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, consumers experienced shortages of paper products, such as toilet paper and paper towels. Despite the widespread shortages and attention they received, new research reveals that most consumers fail to make the connection between their recycling of paper at home and its value in providing feedstock to help make new products.
The good news is regardless, residents report they are keeping up their recycling during the pandemic. According to a national survey conducted last month by the Carton Council of North America, almost one-third of consumers (29%) report they have been recycling more during the pandemic and 56% have been recycling the same.
While promising, especially as the industry worked to maintain recycling programs when possible, the survey also revealed that consumers don't understand the impact between recycling and the new products created. When asked how much impact recycling at home has on helping with paper shortages, 33% of consumers reported they thought recycling might have some impact on helping with the shortages, but they were not sure how much it really helped. While 18% felt recycling had no impact at all on alleviating shortages, 13% were unsure and had not thought about the connection.
Food and beverage cartons, made mainly of paper, are a recyclable material that provides needed feedstock for paper mills to create new paper products.